Family demands answers as South Philly father lies in coma

Doctors believe Tarantella's motor function could be impaired for at least a year.
via Christine Lassite

The family of a South Philly father who was beaten until unconsious outside a bar earlier this month want answers, and they’re offering up a hefty reward to get them. 

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, 48-year-old Frank Tarantella is laying in a coma after getting caught up in a brawl outside Cookie’s Tavern on Oct. 11. He suffered serious injuries in the incident, including brain stem damage that will impair his motor function. No arrests have been made in connection to the incident, and as police investigate, Tarantella’s fiancee is hopeful someone will come forward with tips. 

In an interview with the Inquirer, Christine Lassiter said “People know what happened. They saw it. I know there’s people who know things who aren’t coming forward.”

Lassiter said Tarantella sometimes stayed the night at friend’s house nearby, so she didn’t think much when he didn’t return home that night. But the next day when she couldn’t get a hold of him, she called local hospitals. 

The Citizen’s Crime Commissionis offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads investigators to the person or people responsible for his injuries. 

Additionally, a Go Fund Me online fundraiser was launched this week, and as of Thursday had collected $1,200.

“Doctors say Frankie T could possibly have no brain function for up to a year, leaving his family with immense medical bills on top of lost income,” the organizer writes on the page. “We would love for the South Philly Community and beyond to come together to support the Tarantellas during this difficult time with medical expenses. By donating, you will help eliminate some of the financial stress so they can focus on Frankie T.’s condition.”

The couple has been together for 18 years, and they have a 15-year-old son named Frank, a high school freshman. Tarantella worked as an engineer at the Sheraton Philadelphia University City Hotel, and Lassiter works as a dispatcher for the Delaware River Port Authority. 

It was reported that Cookie’s Tavern has surveillance cameras both outside and inside the bar, but investigators say they don’t have any footage of the attack or witnesses.

If you or someone you know has any information, call the South Detectives at 215-686-3013 or the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS.

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